It’s taken me 8 months to getting around to making this post. I hope it can shine a bit of light for anyone headed towards a similar experience. Just remember that God has a plan, and trust that he only wants good for you!
There are certain experiences in life that most people hope to avoid. For me, having surgery was definitely in the top 10. I hate needles, IVs freak me out, and I’m a big baby about any cuts or scraps I get. Incisions sites were not something I even wanted to contemplate. This would also be my first experience with anesthesia, and I was scared it would make me sick or that I wouldn’t wake up. I knew I needed to do it, so in spite of my fears and worries I scheduled the laparoscopic cystectomy.
I was a nervous bundle of squeamishness in the weeks leading up to surgery. The pain from the cyst on my ovary had kept me going. It was obvious there was something wrong that needed to be fixed, and prayer had given me peace that I had made the right choice.
Two days before surgery the worst of the pain went away. I still had some discomfort with abrupt movement, but it seemed better. The first seed of doubt had been planted. Did I really need surgery, if it wasn’t hurting that badly anymore?
I had my pre-op appointment the next day. I was informed of the large bill I needed to pay before the surgery. That added another seed to the garden of doubt I was planting. Did I really need to spend that much money? They did another ultrasound, and things were the same. No improvement. (Seed#3- but no worse either!) My doctor saw me next, and gave me the speech of all the possible complications. Bam! Another seed…Do I really want to risk having complications? I honestly almost backed out in that moment. It was a scary speech, and I had grown quite the veritable farm of doubt by this point. I immediately prayed about it and felt like God was pushing me to go through with it. I knew in my heart that backing out would be a mistake. I couldn’t let fear of the unknown keep me from doing what was best.
I signed all the forms approving my procedure and headed next door to the hospital for my pre-op labs. They drew blood, went over my entire medical history, asked me tons of questions, did an EKG, and sent me on my way with wrist bands and instructions to take 2 showers with anti-bacterial soap before I came the next morning.
Needless to say, I didn’t get any sleep the night before. We had to be at the hospital at 5:30am. I’m not a morning person by any means, but I wasn’t even the tiniest bit sleepy. My mom and hubby came with me, and my mil (who was in town to help) stayed with my sleeping munchkins.
I went back alone to get prepped. The nurses had me wipe down with antibacterial wipes and put on a gown. They gave me special socks and strapped massaging devices to my legs to prevent blood clots. My doctor, several surgical nurses, and the anesthesiologist all popped in to either introduce themselves or check on me. It was very reassuring! They put in my IV, and it wasn’t too bad at all. Fear of needles made it less than pleasant, but a lovely nurse popped over to distract me. I was so thankful for that.
Finally, my family was allowed back with me. I still had about 45 min until my scheduled time, and the nerves were kicking in. My amazing, 6’2″, muscle man hubby ended up being a wonderful distraction. He passed out! Luckily, he was sitting on my bed and I was able to keep him from falling over. He’s only ever done it when he gets his own blood drawn, but apparently the worry about me and the medical environment were a bit much. Several nurses ran over, because my mom may have panicked a smidge (she didn’t know that he had a history of passing out). He was so embarrassed, but I was really touched by it honestly. It made me feel really loved. By the time all the nurses and the ER doctor who were checking on him left, it was time for me to go back.
I hugged my mom and kissed my hubby. The nurse put a shot in my IV, and the sensation of instantly drinking several very large margaritas took over. This may have also been declared (very loudly) to the nurse as she wheeled me back, and there may have been several people laughing. I was barely aware of my surroundings, as they brought me into the operating room. My doctor talked to me and gave my hand a squeeze. The anesthesiologist put a mask on my face for all of 3 seconds and I was out.
June 17′ – Dec 17’…Recovery
I had 2 thoughts when I woke up from surgery, and I have no idea if I said them in my head or out loud. “Yay! I’m alive!” & “Omgoodness, that really hurts!” There was a nurse sitting right beside me. She hopped up and immediately injected something into my IV, while telling me that she was sorry they had to do the big cut. I passed back out. I woke up a bit later and they let my family in to see me. I had been sleeping for a long time, and I’d missed the doctor update. My mom and hubby updated me. My doctor couldn’t get in through my belly button even after making a larger cut there, because of scar tissue. She had to do a horizontal cut (like a c-section). She had to take out my right ovary and tube, because they were complete gooey mush. She also removed lots of endometriosis scarring, which we didn’t know I had pre-surgery. I was allowed to go home that afternoon, and I immediately got in bed and pretty much stayed there for the next 10 days. I would get up to use the bathroom and to take the tiniest little walks. (Gotta prevent those blood clots!) It was a rough few weeks. Showers were painful and exhausting, and even just sitting on the toilet was a nightmare. I had very little appetite and I ended up losing 8lbs. The only complication I had was a minor bladder infection, which can be super common with having a catheter (which was placed and removed while I was out).
I got better and better over the months. It was a long process, because I’m a very slow healer due to my EDS. It took 18 weeks before my last stitch strings finally dissolved enough to fall off, but by December I was mostly back to normal. 8 months later and I still have a little difficulty with some motions or clothing hurting my scar. I pretty much live in leggings now! Otherwise there’s not much evidence that I had surgery.
I hope hearing about my surgery and recovery helped to answer some questions as to what to expect with this kind of surgery. It was a scary experience, but I came out the other side with little issues. I didn’t have any serious complications, and the anesthesia didn’t make me sick or act like a crazy person. I’ll be having another “adventure” with surgery in less than 2 weeks. Oh, joy! I will post about it very soon. I’ll also be sharing some of my go to recovery products and a few tid bits of advice.